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Movie Review: The Star Movie by Deanna Evans

Posted by Julie on November 20, 2017 in Book Review, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |


Julie’s note: This review from Deanna Evans can be found here.

I was asked recently if I’d like to review THE STAR movie, based off of the very first Christmas, from the animal’s perspective surrounding Christ’s birth. This was something I had never done before but was excited about doing.

Wow and Wow! This film has it all from start to finish you will be mesmerized by its characters, colors and the story surrounding the Nativity. When I finished screening the movie, I was loving it! The story of Bo the Donkey along with Mary and Joseph flooded my heart with all kinds of emotion. I watched the film three times with the same reaction after each viewing! Bring in the amazing music and singing of Mariah Carey’s title track song for The Star, you have a new playlist and movie for Christmas!

In Sony Pictures Animation’s The Star, a small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a lovable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations.

Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become unlikely heroes in the greatest story ever told – the first Christmas.


The voices of the beloved characters are like no other. Steven Yeun, Gina Rodriquez, Zachary Levi, Keegan-Michael Key, Kelly Clarkson, Anthony Anderson, Aidy Bryant, Ving Rhames, Gabriel Iglesias, Patricia Heaton, Kristin Chenoweth, Christopher Plummer, Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey.

If you’re like me try and figure out who is who in the film. Some may be easy to figure out but others you may have to think about or look up.

One of the goals of director Timothy Reckart was to make these animated characters feel life-like, so that we, the audience, would be drawn into the story and be able to relate to the way they thought and acted. During the interview with director Reckart, he stressed this importance when he said, “the goal was to create characters that were based on clues we have in the Bible that also gives each character an opportunity to have an arc.” I was thankful the director took this approach and was cognitive of the actual biblical story. Animated films need to take some creative liberties when retelling a biblical story, which often includes adding humorous (and fictitious) elements. But I felt director Reckart stayed within the bounds of reasonable storytelling. There are many examples throughout the movie but one example is when the donkey named Bo interacts with a sheep by the name of Ruth. These characters take our minds back to the Old Testament narrative of the story and book of the Bible Ruth.


The take away from this movie will leave you feeling ready to enjoy the Christmas season ahead. Reminding us of the true meaning of Christmas. This will be a welcomed addition to the Christmas Classics seen year after year. I know it will be in our home!



Check out some of the online interactive activities:

Interactive Animated Coloring Book


Meet the Characters



Deanna Evans is a freelance writer for Flyby Promotions, a Blogging Network and contributing writer for Telling Ministries.  She is a busy Pastor’s wife and mother to a young son, who keeps her days filled with adventure.
Image credit © 2017 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Movie Review: Patterns of Evidence Exodus

Posted by Julie on August 23, 2017 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Patterns of Evidence-Exodus

The Exodus is an award-winning documentary by filmmaker Timothy Mahoney that chronicles an in-depth archaeological investigation in Egypt as his team attempts to corroborate the biblical text. The film explores one fundamental question: Is there any evidence that the Exodus story actually happened? Twelve years in the making, this provocative documentary reveals new or rarely seen evidence regarding the Israelites descent into slavery, their Exodus from Egypt and their ultimate conquest of the Promised Land. Although many scholars and archaeologists deny the validity of the Exodus story for lack of proof, Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus builds a case that sheds new light on the story.

PATTERNS OF EVIDENCE: Exodus is a well-crafted documentary with beautiful cinematography and quality interviews. Filmmaker Timothy Mahoney takes the viewer step-by-step through his journey to learn whether the Exodus really took place.

I was surprised by the high quality of the production from video to music to interview subjects. A lot of topics were covered from plagues to papyrus, Joseph, and the Jericho walls.

I was a little confused by some of the dates, and I felt that the filmmaker considered the timing the key point of the Exodus. With that, a little more to explain/prove dates would have been helpful.

I am a simpleton of faith and believe in the Exodus because I believe the Bible is God inspired and a true account. The Israelites shared their history through story, and they story has held true for thousands of years. That said, Bible reader, history fan, or just curious, I believe this is important to watch.

I received a copy of the DVD in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Movie Review: Voiceless

Posted by Julie on September 9, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |



Jesse Dean is a recently discharged soldier who had a rough upbringing, but because of his wife, found God and now is totally devoted to his faith.

He and wife move to Philadelphia so he can take a new job as an outreach leader at an old church whose membership has been declining. As everything is going well and as he starts connecting to the community, he discovers there’s an abortion clinic directly across the street from the church.

He goes to the pastor and to several others in the church and tries to get their help to no avail. One day something tragic and personal happens to him while he’s going about his everyday routine. He comes to the point that he begins to take action himself. He gets involved but the more involved he gets, the more resistance he gets from those in church and community. His wife, who thinks his actions will get him fired or land him in jail, also comes against him.

Finally, it comes down to him having to make a choice: is he going to take the easy way out and back off, which is what everyone wants him to do, or will he face a major confrontation which will require him to put everything on the line…not just his job, but his freedom and marriage as well.

This film encourages people to stand up for what they know is right, particularly as it pertains to taking God’s truths into society to address social issues. It addresses the spirit of retreat as it pertains to engaging the culture that has developed within the Church.

This is a subtle movie with a wide impact. Jesse moves to Philly with his wife after leaving the military. He has a rough background but is now a Christian with a passion to make a difference. His church gives him a hero’s welcome and he plans a boxing outreach to help inner city residents find a safe outlet and hear the Good News. All seems well until Jesse sees what’s across the street. A business known for providing abortions.

Jesse is invested in the pro-life message and is drawn to the center to share his heart. He isn’t angry or judgemental, he just wants everyone to see all the options and what consequences there are. But as he shares the truth, blood is shed and people take sides.

VOICELESS packs a ton of truth, quietly and reverently. The director of the reproductive center has a great interaction with Jesse and it shows how conflicted it can get. She thinks she’s helping, Jesse does as well. Yet the church wishes Jesse would quiet down. His wife does, too.  Jesse has to make a decision, and it could unite everyone, or implode. The actions more than dialogue speak volumes and leave an impact after the movie is done.

I think no matter where you fall on the pro-life/pro-choice issue, VOICELESS is worth seeing.

This movie opens October 7th. To learn more, visit HERE.

I was sent a link to this movie in exchange for an honest review.


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Movie Review: Finding Noah

Posted by Julie on October 3, 2015 in Book Review, God's Word, Life Lessons, surrender |


Movie Description:

For over 2,000 years, man has been searching for the final resting place of Noah’s Ark.  Though there have been many attempts, few have been able to fully explore the one place specifically noted in the Bible: Mount Ararat.  Located in Eastern Turkey, Agri Dagh or “The Painful Mountain” is the tallest mountain in the region and lies in the very center of a centuries old, geo-politically unstable hot spot.  With constant threats of deadly rock slides, hidden crevasses, and glacial ice falls, the Kurdish Rebel held mountain poses great risk to any explorer, let alone those performing a thorough scientific investigation.  


Join director/producer Brent Baum and the FINDING NOAH film crew as they follow an expedition of intrepid explorers on a perilous trek up to Mt. Ararat’s desolate summit.  There, using state of the art technology and real-time satellite imagery, this team of archeologists, scientists and professional mountaineers will begin a grid work of exploration unlike any before, hoping to finally resolve the age-old question:  did Noah and his Ark actually exist?  


Shot in never-before filmed locations in the harshest of conditions, this unprecedented feature-length documentary shows just how far men are willing to go to discover the truth.  Narrated by Academy Award nominee Gary Sinise, FINDING NOAH is more than a quest for answers, it is a testament of the human spirit, where belief and the need for exploration transcend risk and limitation.  

Genre: Documentary

Rating: NR 

Runtime: 116 minutes

Release Date (ONE NIGHT ONLY): October 8

If you’ve read Wild at Heart/Captivating, you know that one of the core parts of our being is a quest. We long for adventure. And Finding Noah is the ultimate quest that does not disappoint.

I wasn’t sure how I’d fare. I love history, but I didn’t know if I was ready for any Biblical/archaeological expedition. I thought it might be too “smart” for me, as intrigued as I’d be. And, I confess, I’m a bit hesitant thanks to Geraldo Rivera. I stayed up way too late on that failed quest to find treasure in Al Capone’s vault decades ago.

Finding Noah is no Geraldo Rivera special. Narrated by Academy Award winning Gary Sinise, viewers are invited to vicariously scale Ararat Mountain in the harshest of conditions as they search for Noah’s Ark. There is so much to like here. The team is friendly and so passionate. You are rooting for them to find the pitch-like material that would designate the ark. The scenery is breathtaking. Whatever video equipment they used was so good that even on my laptop NOT on fullscreen I was holding my breath and feeling dizzy as they showed the heights. The sound of freezing rain pelting the tents made me wince as if I were right there, too. I was caught up in this journey and went through the mountains and valleys with the team.

. It is so much more than a movie, it’s an experience.

Don’t miss out.

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Movie Review: 23 Blast

Posted by Julie on February 3, 2015 in Book Review, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |


Movie Description:

When a high school football star is suddenly stricken with irreversible total blindness, he must decide whether to live a safe handicapped life or bravely return to the life he once knew and the sport he still loves.

I confess, when the movie started, my expectations were low. With the exception of Spy Kids actress Alexa Vega, none of the actors were names I knew. Sadly, most faith based films are known for having a cheesy element to them.

But like Travis Freeman and his true story about going blind and choosing not only to live in a sighted world, but play football again, as the movie progresses, it finds it footing.

Travis went from 20/20 vision one day to completely blind the next. He had to process through the anger and surrender his fears. His blindness affected a lot of people and I believe the movie did a good job showing that. His parents, especially his mother, really struggled with his loss of sight. He’s got one friend who sticks with him, to the point of being blunt about the girl that left as soon as things got tough. He has another friend with a lot of baggage that supplies a lot of humor but also struggles to find his place before and after Travis’ blindness.

By the last scene, I was crying. Like the other football movies with heart, I was sucked into the emotion and winning spirit the team carried regardless of the score. The last play is amazing.

The actor that played Travis reminds me of a young Matt Damon. I thought he did an admirable job in the challenging role.

At the end you learn the real Travis played a cameo part in a key scene, and that was emotional for me, too. I recommend watching the bonus footage as Travis not only shares his own story, the actors do as well. They also explain what happened to one of the players, and I think it’s important for teens especially to pay attention to that footage. The movie earned the PG-13 rating because of that player and his choices, and they are honest about showing those choices have consequences. Travis talks about his friend and the demons his friend never surrendered. It’s a real lesson to think about long after the movie is over.

As is 23 Blast itself. We may not face the same challenges as Travis, but we all have fears. I think the movie is an inspirational motivator for all of us to dig deep inside and surrender in faith.

For we walk by faith, not by sight 2 Corinthians 5:7 was the core verse for 23 Blast.

May it be the same for us.

To purchase 23 Blast, click here.

I received a copy of 23 Blast in exchange for an honest review.

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